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19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. 20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

 

Verses 19-40 record God’s sovereign care over those who do His will. He turns persecution to triumph.

16:19

But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

The girl’s owners arrested Paul and Silas for destroying the profit of their business. Their materialism blinded them to spiritual reality (1 Ti 6:9-10). The authorities did not take Timothy (a half Jew) and Luke (a Gentile) into custody.

16:20

And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;

Paul’s team was charged with civil disorder for their Jewish beliefs. There were not many Jews in Philippi.

16:21

and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.”

The charge before the magistrates was also that the team did not follow legal Roman customs. Roman government did not allow cults to proselytize Roman citizens.

16:22

Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.

The magistrates reacted to mob psychology and commanded Paul and Silas to be beaten with rods (2 Co 11:25).

16:23

And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.

After beating the team, the authorities threw them in jail before the magistrates investigated the case against them.

16:24

Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The magistrates ordered Paul and Silas to be placed in an interior cell of the prison and their feet to be put in stocks of huge wood or metal blocks. This area was the most secure in the entire prison.

PRINCIPLE:

God sovereignly overrules negative circumstances to fulfill His will.

APPLICATION:

Satan either attacks the church through persecution or by infiltration of the church with false doctrine. In either case, God sovereignly works among His people to do His will (Ro 8:28).

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